Tag: staff profile

Hedda Staff profile: Philipp Friedrich

Philipp Friedrich (University of Oslo)

Philipp Friedrich
(University of Oslo)

Philipp Friedrich is a PhD candidate at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo. His research project is focused on effective coordination of higher education policies in modern nation states. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with focus on History and Scandinavian Studies Department of Political science, University of Vienna, and is also a graduate of the Higher Education Master Programme at the University of Oslo. Prior to starting as a PhD fellow, he worked as a research assistant on multiple projects, and as a scientific associate at the Knowledge Center for Education. He is currentlyt involved with teaching at introductory HEM4100 course, as well as the HEM4220 course on organization, governance and management of higher education. 

What interests you about the field of higher education?

I think higher education plays in many respects an essential role for society and technological and economic development. It is this variety and importance of higher education for the political order of any society that fascinates me. The university as the core institution of higher education must be one of the most fascinating institutions that civilization has brought forth. It is traditional, difficult to understand, even more difficult to organize or to govern, and at the same time a place where innovation takes place, new ideas are born and future generations trained and educated. My general interest refers to the role higher education and the university plays in society and how it can eventually contribute to human well-being and socioeconomic development.

How did you get into the field of higher education? What kind of disciplinary background do you have? 

Two major developments have influenced my choice to study in the master program “Higher Education” here in Oslo. I began to study political science and history at the University of Vienna in Austria. During the latter semesters of my bachelor programme I became increasingly involved and interested in university politics through my work in the students union. Besides, I could also gain teaching and supervision experiences as mentor and tutor for first year students, a work which I really liked and enjoyed. The other development refers to my travels to Scandinavia during my time of studies in Austria. I was at one point fascinated both by nature and culture. Since my plan was to take a master degree at a foreign institution, I thought the master program in Oslo would be a perfect match. So I set everything in motion to make this adventure happen. During my studies in Oslo I also here became gradually involved in teaching and various activities related to the program e.g. as student representative or colloquium leader. Despite that I began to work as research assistant in a project to which I also linked my master thesis. After a short intermezzo at the Research Council of Norway and in parallel a research assistant position in another project, the time has come for a PhD position in that field which I’m more than happy to have had obtained.

What are your main research interests in higher education? What is your PhD project about?




Staff Spotlight: Rachelle Esterhazy

Rachelle Esterhazy

Rachelle Esterhazy (University of Oslo)

Rachelle Esterhazy is a second year PhD candidate at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo. Her research project is about “Feedback practices in higher education” and focuses on the processes that take place when students engage with feedback. She holds a B.Sc in Psychology from the University of Konstanz, Germany and a M.Phil in Higher Education from the University of Oslo. In 2015-2016, Rachelle taught the methods courses in the M.Phil Higher Education program.

What interests you about the field of higher education?

First and foremost I am interested in learning processes of students and how they unfold during their higher education studies. The higher education context is very complex and students are diverse in their pre-knowledge, learning approaches and motivations. This is what makes the learning processes in higher education so fascinating. While the focus of my project is on a very particular part of this learning process, I find it important to keep in mind the big picture and the institutional and sociocultural environment where the learning takes place. This is where I see one of the strengths of the field of higher education, as its small size facilitates the cooperation of people working on different levels of the phenomenon. It is exciting to work with other people coming from all kinds of disciplines, working with all kinds of theories and having all kinds of practical experience and to see how we are all brought together because we share the same interest in higher education.




2013 in review – Hedda news

2013_3We continue our annual review of the yearly entries on the blog. In this second post we will focus on news from Hedda. Do not forget to check out the posts summarising Hedda podcasts and audio/video material, as well as the post reviewing all the wonderful guest entries of 2013

Hedda students

In 2012, we launched our new series FACE2FACE, where we interview our students on video. In 2013, we published two FACE 2 FACE videos. In the first one, we interviewed Evgenia  Bogun and Gordon Musiige. In the video the students shared their thoughts about why they decided to study in the Higher Education programme, their experiences of living and studying in Norway, and give tips to future students on how to cope with life as an international student.

In our second FACE 2 FACE video of 2013, we interviewed Anette Løken and Enzo Rossi who started their studies in autumn 2013. In their video, they share their very first impressions of higher education as a research field, why studying higher education is important in modern societies and what they expect from the Master Programme.

Hedda students also went to a study trip in Brussels, and Ljiljana Krstić who then was a first year student at the Hedda Master programme in Higher Education wrote about what they learned visiting various European organisations for higher education.

Hedda students were also a part of an innovative learning project at the University of Oslo where students were using video to interview professors about their research. The project leader, Professor Bjørn Stensaker, introduced the project and talked about the relevance of using video for these purposes. We also published the video where the students interviewed Prof Peter Maassen about his research. Later on, the students wrote an entry reflecting about their experiences with the project.




Hedda Staff Spotlight: Rachel Sweetman

Rachel Sweetman (University of Oslo)

Rachel Sweetman
(University of Oslo)

Rachel Sweetman is a Research Fellow at the Department of Education (UiO), where her main research project is related to the concept of learning outcomes from a multidisciplinary perspective. She holds a Masters Degree in Comparative and International Education and worked until recently at NIFU (The Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education) as a researcher. In this introduction, she talks about her background and interests, and gives some tips about surviving in Oslo as an international student. 

During the autumn 2013 semester, Rachel will teach the methods courses at the Hedda Master Programme in Higher Education. 

– What fascinates you most about the field of higher education? Why should people take a masters programme in this area?

Many things. I am always amazed at the potential for ‘good stories’ to take hold of policy agendas, even when they are demonstrably untrue; for example the idea that any degree, anywhere is a ‘good investment’ for the individual person and society. Indeed, one of the things that interests me about contemporary higher education is that we expect so much of it, and for it to solve all kinds of problems which it can only influence in very indirect and unclear ways.

I enjoy comparative HE policy research because it can shine a light back on the broader preoccupations and differences in societies; the way we interpret and describe the roles and values we expect from our central institutions is quite revealing.

For Master’s students I’d say it’s a research area which is in the middle of a lot of contemporary policy debates and changes, and in a field which is only going to get bigger – in in terms of demands for institutional research or international comparative work.

– How did you get into the field of higher education? What kind of disciplinary background do you have?




Staff Spotlight: Vidar Grøtta

Vidar Grøtta (University of Oslo)

Vidar Grøtta is a Research Fellow at the University of Oslo. His main research interests are linked to history and philosophy of higher education, and his main project is focused on how the humanities education in Norway developed between 1960s and 2000.  

Vidar currently teaches the History and Philosophy of Higher Education module of the Hedda master programme.  

How did you get into the field of higher education?
The first time I developed a serious interest in higher education as an academic field, was as an undergraduate student in sociology around 1990. The sociology of knowledge, and of general education, were to my mind the most fertile empirical areas of research at the time – although like many of my fellow students in the 90s I confess to have been mostly tickled by that academic monster, Post-Structuralist Theory. Then I transferred to the humanities, in pursuit of other interests (and more Theory, I suspect), and eventually got a graduate degree – the old Magister degree – in comparative literature. However, my first jobs after graduation returned me to my previous interest in higher education. As a student counselor and information officer at the faculty of arts, and then – to my surprise – as the director of the university’s careers center, I became acquainted with many new aspects (new to me, that is) of academia and HE, and also with its sometimes vexed relations to its societal environment of politics, the economy, and the media. These experiences brought me eventually to apply for a position at the Ministry of Education and Research, where I worked in various capacities for four years, and where I am still employed (on a leave of absence to finish my PhD).

On a practical level, three factors must probably share the responsibility for this career path: 1) I had had some experience with administrative work at various HE institutions during my student years (the lesson for students being: beware of part time jobs – they might set you on a track from which you’ll never return); 2) upon graduation I discovered that with a degree in comparative literature, my career options were not exactly legion – and so, like many of my generation trained in the humanities, I learnt to make a virtue of necessity; and 3) I discovered, or rediscovered, that I had a genuine interest for – even a passion for – higher education (its history, its individual and societal functions, its institutional workings) and after working with administrative and policy issues for a decade or so, I decided it was time to supplement that with a more research-based understanding of the field, and so applied for funding to do a PhD project.




Staff Chronicle: Romulo Pinheiro reflects on his PhD completion

First and foremost we would like to congratulate Romulo on completing his PhD!

Romulo is a graduate of the Hedda master programme, having been the second cohort of the Hedda Master programme. He has been later involved at the Faculty of Education as a PhD research fellow where in addition to his own research he has also been involved in teaching courses at the master programme and supervising a number of our students. His doctoral thesis was focused on the relationship between the regional mission and institutional dynamics of higher education.

In this Chronicle, he reflects a bit his thesis, on the process of obtaining a PhD in higher education and highlights some of the brightest moments from his dissertation defense.




Hedda 2011 – did you catch all the Hedda highlights?

So, yet another year has passed and a new one approaching in lightning speed. This is perhaps the right time to reflect on some of the highlights of 2011! Since it seems we have had a busy year, this review will be posted in two posts to be able to really give a round-up on all what has happened on the Hedda blog.

In 2011, Hedda became 10 years old, we passed 500 posts on the blog already early 2011 and are now approaching 600, and we have by now almost 250 followers on Facebook! We said farewell to yet another successful year of Hedda Master programme graduates and said hello to our new students in 2011. From 2011, Hedda master programme also has a new partnership with the Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU), Mozambique.

In this post, we look back at Hedda10 anniversary activities, have an overview of the Hedda podcasts from 2011, summarise our thematic weeks, remind of the spotlights and chronicles of our alumni, students and staff, and highlight the guest bloggers we have had the privilege to work with.

Hedda anniversary celebration

We celebrated Hedda 10th anniversary in November with a one-day conference about university mergers. We had a fantastic list of international speakers, covering the whole range from Australia to Canada, and from China to Germany. We had the privilege to broadcast the whole conference live to all of you who were not able to attend in person. And, we have published all the sound files and the presentations on the Hedda website so if you missed out on some of the presentations – check them out!




Staff Spotlight: Shane Colvin

Shane Colvin

Senior IT Engineer- Shane Colvin

Shane Colvin works as a Senior IT engineer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences and has for many years been involved in the Hedda master programmes and the blog. Having been an important figure in promoting new technologies at the Faculty, we would like to ask Shane about some of his experiences with implementing new technologies in the Hedda master programmes.

How would you describe your role in the Hedda team and what has been your main contribution throughout the years?

As Senior IT Engineer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, my primary role at Hedda is to develop and maintain its online student support structure and communications initiatives.  This work initially began in 2001 when I designed and developed Hedda´s first website.  In 2005, my association with Hedda increased substantially after we begin a two year flexible learning project where we introduced an initiative to put all literature in digital format online and available for students (first to do so at the University of Oslo).  Another core component of the project was to produce podcasts of all lectures, as well as created what is now the Hedda Blog.  All of these initiatives were done in collaboration with our students and continue to this day.

What is your educational background?

I have a BA in Secondary Education specializing in Social Science Studies, from Rhode Island College.  I also studied one year at the University of Stirling in Scotland, which ultimately sparked my interest in international higher education.  Subsequent to teaching economics and civics briefly in the USA, I went on to pursue my master degree at the University of Oslo in Comparative and International Education, graduating with an MPhil in 2002.  The focus of my thesis was on academic capitalism and industrial outreach in the Lithuanian higher education system after the fall of communism.




Hedda Staff Spotlight: Professor Bjørn Stensaker

For many years Professor Bjørn Stensaker has been involved in our Hedda master programmes. He has a background as a political scientist and acquired his PhD from CHEPS at University of Twente. In recent years he has been working as a research professor at NIFU STEP, where his primary research focus has been on quality and internationalisation of higher education. He has published numerous articles on the topic in books and prominent journals, such as Quality in Higher Education, Higher Education, Higher Education Policy and so forth. Currently he is employed as a professor at the Department of Educational Research in University os Oslo.

In the interview he reflects on his background and new role as a professor at the Department of Education. In addition, he gives some reflections of the developments and potential impacts of quality assurance in higher education, amongst else with reference to Johan P. Olsens framework of the four enduring university models.




Interview with the Hedda Blog Research Editor

This video features an interview with research fellow and Hedda blog research editor Mari Elken.  Mari begins with a brief introduction about herself and her research interests.  She continues with discussing some exciting changes with to the Hedda blog and her thoughts and reflections on the field of Higher Education.



Mari Elken is a graduate of the Hedda Master programme in Higher Education and is currently working as a research fellow at the Department of Educational Research, University of Oslo. Originally coming from Estonia and having a first degree in art and teaching, she is now working primarily with research on European higher education policy processes, more specifically the introduction of the European Qualifications Framework.